This edition of the Middle Atlantic Amateur promises to be a wild one, with two stories developing. The first, and most talked about by the players, is the weather and its influence on the golf course. An approaching cold front is expected to bring cool, dry air and gusty winds (projected to be close to 30 mph on Friday), which will make a firm, fast course even firmer and faster.
The second story is that of first-round leader Michael Brennan of Leesburg, Va. Brennan is the two-time defending champ (2017-2018) in this event who is seeking to become the first player to win the Middle Atlantic Amateur three times in a row.
Brennan started his journey to that milestone on Thursday with an opening 2-under 68. He was 2 under through seven, but a “couple of dumb mistakes” produced a double bogey on No. 8 and a bogey on No. 9. He responded quickly from the setback with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 and another on 14, combined with six pars for a back-nine 32.
“I hit it far, drove it well, and my putting was solid,” he said, and he made two big par saves on Nos. 12 and 13 to keep the momentum going. The round included six birdies.
Jeff Long, Ashburn, Va., produced a very solid 1-over 71 with three bogeys and two birdies. Playing away from the hole when required, he played smart and avoided the pitfall most others made. Long finished third in the championship in 2018 and knows how to close the deal.
There are two players in third after the first round, including Jake Griffin of Kensington, Md., a junior at Walter Johnson HS in Bethesda. Griffin plodded along in 4-over 39 on the front and then turned it up on the back, shooting 34 which included an eagle on the 521-yard, par-5 11th when he hit the green in two with a 4-iron. Keegan Hoff of Arlington, Va., toured the front in even-par 35, bogeyed Nos. 10 through 12, and then regrouped, finishing with six straight pars.
Charlie Bundy, Bethesda, Md., a junior at the Landon School, missed a pre-calculus test to be at Westwood. That absence paid off as he aced the par-3 sixth from 154 yards with a 9-iron. It was his first ace. Too make the day all the better, his dad, Phil, was on the bag. The senior Bundy brings a lot of experience as a caddie. He was a member of the Wake Forest University golf team when it won the 1986 NCAA Championship.
ABOUT THE Middle Atlantic Amateur
54-hole stroke play championship. The field is cut to
the low 60 scores and ties after round two. Open to
members of member clubs of the Middle Atlantic
Association, and by invitation.
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